Horse Life: The benefits of taking a step back
Horses are so time and energy consuming, it’s easy to let them take over your life. Lila Gendal reminds us not to let our world get too small.
The horse world is rather diminutive in relation to the rest of the universe. Yet when you eat, sleep and breathe horses you can easily forget how tiny this world really is. We get so caught up with our horses, our riding and our schedules that sometimes nothing else matters.
Have you ever spent days, weeks or even months struggling with your riding and nothing seems to be working? Sometimes we need to leave the barn–even for just a day–in order to get out of our own heads. I think you can be 100-percent dedicated to your equestrian path but still gain something very valuable by taking a step back.
Here are a few benefits:
Being a diehard equestrian is not something that very many people can relate to. How cool it is to spend hours with our horses, days on end? To go trail riding up in the mountains, or jump obstacles, or finesse our dressage? How amazing it is to develop an unwavering relationship with an animal? A life filled with horses and riding is like nothing else. However, the flip side of being so dedicated to our passion is that we can become very fixated, overly obsessive and analytical. Even professionals at the top of their sport take days off. If we can force ourselves to leave the farm, take a vacation, or just try something new for a day, we will lead healthier lives.
Individuals who spend every waking second with their horses are obviously dedicated and passionate about what they do; however exploring this amazing world we live in and seeking alternative adventures that don’t include saddles and bridles can actually benefit your riding in the long run. Arguably, we only get one life to live. I think you can be a diehard rider while still exploring other areas of your life. Sometimes leaving the farm, your town, your state or even the country can give you a new perspective on your horse life.
Sometimes we have to step away from the problem or issue in order to gain perspective on the situation. For instance: I can’t get my horse to move off my legs easily enough. I try and try and try but nothing seems to help. Perhaps you leave the farm one day for a family trip. You leave that day sort of feeling sorry for yourself and your horse. Four days pass and you have relaxed, regrouped and thought about other things besides your horse not moving off of your inside leg. You return to the farm and you all of a sudden have a new idea or method you can try out on your horse. Obsessing over something day in and day out can be counterproductive; sometimes taking a step back can yield new strategies for success.
To end I would love to share this video taken last summer at Tamarack Hill Farm. If you can’t leave the farm from time to time in order to experience other parts of life, perhaps you can put together your own horsey video at your farm in order to let loose!
My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media… or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.
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